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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin McHale set to make emotional return to Minnesota

12.26.12 at 7:58 am ET

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NBA: Knicks at Suns, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
College football: Little Caesars Bowl, Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Rockets coach (and Celtics legend) Kevin McHale is set to make an emotional return to Minneapolis on Wednesday night. McHale, a Minnesota native who spent 16 years working for the Timberwolves as a TV analyst, executive and coach, raised his children in the area. This is his first visit to Target Center since the Nov. 24 death of his 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, from lupus. McHale’s wife and four remaining children will attend the game as well.

Following Tuesday night’s victory over the Bulls, the Rockets are 6-3 since McHale returned to the team for a Dec. 8 game against the Mavericks. That includes a Dec. 14 victory over the Celtics, after which former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett gave McHale a long embrace.

“Everywhere we go, somebody comes up to him to give him a big hug,” Rockets assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff told the Pioneer Press newspaper in Minnesota. “Over the last 33 years or so, his touch has been felt all over the NBA. It’s hard to find people who don’t like Kevin McHale, who weren’t touched by him in some way.”

‘™¦ Former Patriots receiver Chad Johnson admitted that a sex tape making its way around the Internet is of him with two women, but he denies that he wanted it to go public. Johnson, released by the Dolphins before the season, said the tape was shot in a Florida hotel room about three years ago. He said he’s exploring legal options to have the tape removed.

Johnson, 34, had an unimpressive 2011 season with the Patriots (when he was known as Chad Ochocinco) after 10 productive seasons with the Bengals. He has said he wants to return to the NFL.

‘™¦ Former Braves and Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones was arrested in suburban Atlanta early Tuesday morning on a battery charge following a domestic dispute with his wife. He released on bond later in the day.

Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove-winner for the Braves who has 434 home runs in 17 major league seasons, played last season for the Yankees. He signed a one-year contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League earlier this month.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 26, 1976, Bruins forward John Bucyk scored in a 6-3 victory over the visiting Cleveland Barons, giving him 545 career goals and moving him past which Canadiens legend for fourth place on the all-time list?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t know where in America you can [yank] somebody’s pants off, or shorts off. I don’t know what the hell was going on.” — Kevin Garnett on his confrontation with Nets forward Gerald Wallace on Tuesday that resulted in technical fouls on both players

STAT OF THE DAY: 245 — Minutes without a foul for LeBron James (covering parts of eight games) before he was whistled in the first quarter of the Heat’s victory over the Thunder on Tuesday night

‘NET RESULTS: A Santa impostor at the Bulls-Rockets game in Chicago bangs his face against the rim while dunking off a trampoline.

An Alabama fan gets emotional about receiving a ticket to the national championship game.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Maurice “The Rocket” Richard

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Chris Daughtry was born on this day in 1979.

Read More: Andruw Jones, Chad Johnson, kevin garnett, Kevin McHale